Take It From a Woman: She Wants You to Buy Her an Exercise Dress
There's only one thing she wants to wear, and it's a cute, comfy workout dress
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You’re not imagining it: women everywhere are wearing dresses while exercising. The functional activewear piece has become ubiquitous over the past couple of years, and I’d surmise nearly every woman in your life either owns one or wants one.
The workout dress is an ostensibly simple design: an A-line dress (similar to the popular slip dress) made from a stretchy, lightweight spandex/nylon fabric that often includes built-in biker shorts. The style is lauded for its comfort and versatility (you can work out, go to the farmer’s market and, in some cases, even to dinner in it.) Not to mention, everyone looks good in the silhouette.
The current craze can be traced back to 2018, when Outdoor Voices released its now-famous and often-copied Exercise Dress. Now, brands like Reformation, Girlfriend Collective, Abercrombie & Fitch and a current TikTok favorite, Halara, are selling their own versions with great success. The style’s dominance in athleisure is also a likely product of the past year and a half’s WFH era, which has us sporting low-key loungewear 24/7.
I’m telling you all of this because, as a woman who owns a few exercise dresses herself, the stretchy skort dress is one of my favorite styles to wear, period. Whether I’m actually sweating in it or just need something quick to throw on in the morning to go to Starbucks, my workout dresses are reliable, practical and stylish. And it’s why I believe the exercise dress is one of the best and most thoughtful, gifts you can give to the woman in your life. So below is a list of hand-picked workout dresses from a range of brands, all boasting fun colors, sleek looks and unmatched comfort.
Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress
You’re looking at the workout dress that launched a thousand workout dresses: The Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress. The first workout dress I’ve ever owned, it has been with me through so much: working out, traveling, walks to the bodega. It’s beyond comfortable, super cute and features adjustable straps, plus two handy pockets in the built-in short.
Reformation Bella Ecomove Active Dress
Props to Reformation for making an activewear dress you can 100% go out to dinner in. The brand’s Bella Ecomove Active Dress, a mini active dress with a fitted bodice and laidback skirt, falls perfectly in line with its form-fitting, dreamy dresses nearly all of us (including Taylor Swift) go crazy for. The dress’ deep V neckline adds extra breathability (and a splash of sex appeal) while the heavy knit performance knit stretch and built-in shorts make it a suitable garment to sweat in.
Nike Bliss Luxe Training Dress
Nike’s training dress looks like a chic vintage shift dress but is built for high and low-performance thanks to a stretchy, lightweight outer layer that sits on top of a flexible, performance bodysuit.
Halara Everyday 2-in-1 Activity Dress-Wannabe
Am I currently wearing this dress while I type this? Yes. After seeing a bazillion ads for this dress on TikTok, the social media marketing worked and I needed to try her out. Halara, a Hong-Kong based activewear brand I was unfamiliar with until they bombarded my “For You” page, offers a wide array of activewear, including a large selection of workout dresses. I went with their best-selling Everyday 2-in-1 Activity Dress-Wannabe and was pleasantly surprised. The spandex/nylon fabric is sturdy and smooth, the slightly flared skirt adds fun movement and unlike a lot of exercise dresses on the market, Halara’s comes with a built-in bra
Outdoor Voices One Shoulder Dress
Another workout dress in my personal collection, OV’s latest exercise dress, as you can gauge, has one shoulder. Made with the brand’s sweat-wicking and quick-drying SuperForm Fabric, the dress’ silhouette is undoubtedly unique, easily standing out amongst the many, many copycats. Like the brand’s original, the One Shoulder Dress is comfy and confidence-boosting, except this time, includes a built-in bra (but no built-in short, if you’re into that.)
Abercrombie & Fitch Traveler Mini Dress
This simple style from Abercrombie & Fitch is a more affordable alternative to OV’s Excercise Dress. Available in a bunch of flattering colors, the Traveler Mini Dress features a hidden cellphone pocket and adjustable straps.
Outdoor Voices Athena Dress
Rounding out the list with, yes, another Outdoor Voices offering (because, duh.) The brand’s Athena Dress quickly became a fan favorite when it launched last March. Most likely because the lightweight, unlined dress is made with a sculpting Textured Compression, that makes for a well-fitted, sporty garment.
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